Our living room lacked a dramatic focal point. We also had a crazy cord management problem. Enter the idea to build a faux fireplace to fix all of our issues. It took us about 2.5 days and about $300 to complete it. We’re really pleased with the final product, especially since neither one of us had ever dry walled before!
First things first, we already had a “floating” mantle that we wanted to use. So, we made our plans around the dimensions of that. The mantle measures 5′ across. We made the fireplace 6′ wide for visual interest. The picture below is the general idea of what we wanted to do. Things changed as we got in the middle of it, but this is the basic sketch we started with.
Let’s jump right in! Here’s how to build your own faux fireplace!
- Build your base using 2x4s and 2.5 inch wood screws. This will be attached to the ceiling. Everything will be build off of this. Make sure it’s sturdy and drilled into ceiling studs. We cut out our baseboard using an oscillating saw to make sure the frame sat flush.
- Once the base is firmly attached, you’ll build and attach the “hearth, the build out that will become your actual fireplace hole, and the supports that will hold your tv/equipment. You can see in the picture below that we chose to make the bottom 2×4 “flat” against the wall. We did this for two reasons- to be able to mount it into the wall studs and to add a lip for the hearth to be attached (we used a scrap to make sure we had great mounting points).
- We mounted our mantle at this point. It gave us a better visual of how to build everything else out. We discovered that we needed some extra support to keep things stable. We added some “L” brackets made out of scraps to level out the mantle. We also added the support beams for what will become the actual opening of the fireplace. * Leg hack* We needed to match the hearth height of 4″. We cut two 2x4s the correct length of the opening from the wall to the front of the hearth. We then mounted the “legs” to a shorter piece of wood so that we could move them freely and get them squared up perfectly. Once everything was squared up, we mounted the shorter piece to the top of the 2×4 we already had running from the wall to the front of the hearth.
- Now, time for the last bit of woodwork! Last thing to add is the plywood topper for the hearth. We opted to not jigsaw out all the pieces. No pressure will be put on those open back pieces once the sheetrock is up.
- It’s time for sheetrock! We had never worked with it before. So, there was a serious learning curve. We discovered that the oscillating saw cut everything beautifully-and much faster than a hand saw. (Don’t use a circular saw. We tried. It was a disaster.) You’ll want to keep the drywall in as large sheets as possible. We started putting a piece at the ceiling and butted up under the mantle. We pieced together the rest because we didn’t want to have to buy more drywall. We used the plastic corner pieces to make sure our corners were nice and square. HIGHLY RECOMMEND. I put it on using joint compound. Apparently, they make a spray adhesive that makes it stick on perfectly. That would have been so much easier, but we were being cheap… so… it was messy. **NOTE** Matt ran all of the cords before we hung the drywall. He drilled out holes in the 2x4s for the cords to drop down. Definitely run your cords beforehand!!! It will save you from having to fish them down with a coat hanger. BEWARE NOT TO CUT YOUR CORD WHEN CUTTING OUT YOUR SHELF HOLES.
- Next, we did a test fit to make sure our TV was where we wanted it. Our TV mount requires a centered stud. That’s why our shelf has a bar in the middle of it. You can see in the picture below the first coat of the textured mud we did. Getting drywall perfectly smooth would have never happened for us. So, I decided to make the texture intensional. I used my mud knife to add a stucco-like texture to the fireplace. It worked perfectly! You can’t tell what is a bad joint or purposeful texture. I just did one thick coat of texture after we got our seams nice and joined and fairly smooth.
- This sucker is ready for paint! At this point, I moved all of my furniture back in place. Three days is too long for our family to live without a living room. I have a 2.5 year old. Things are always messy. Hence, the sheet covering our couch and his 5ft long stuffed snake. Note in the picture below that I also primed the hearth with KILZ to prep it for our faux tile finish.
- Time to lay the tile! Except for it’s not tile, they’re stickers. Yep, less than a dollar a piece. You cut them with an exacto knife. I chose to use JBWELD to put the front pieces on. Again, toddler–nothing is safe from being peeled off. The back pieces aren’t perfect, but they’ll be covered by decorations.
- Lastly, we added some shoe molding to the base where the buildout meets the hearth. It adds a nice finishing touch and hides and gaps that were too big for caulk. I starting putting decorations up before we finished the caulk or touch ups. Mainly because I was over the project (enneagram 7, can’t help it), also because we had people coming over and I was out of time. I will say that those books were in that toy basket, but my son needed to play with them while he watched Tayo. DESPERATE TIMES, PEOPLE.
- The plan was to finish this sucker by filling up the fireplace opening with birch logs. Still the goal, but I quickly found out that $50 of logs didn’t even complete the first layer. My Mother-In-Law told me about DIY birch logs from pool noodles. Check back- that could very well be my next post!
- 2.5in wood screws
- Circular Saw
- Oscillating Saw
- Drywall Panels
- Dry Wall Screws
- Joint Tape
- Joint Compound
- Corner Bead
- Birch Logs
If you are interested in creating your own faux fireplace but aren’t sure where to start, shoot me a message! I’m happy to help you with your plans!